View Full Version : Retail at the WTC Site
New Jack City
November 12th, 2004, 10:00 PM
Planning for Retail at the World Trade Center Site
by Barry Owens
Once the World Trade Center memorial is built, the next highest priority for the site is retail-about 1 million square feet of it-according to a retail study presented to Community Board 1 on Nov. 8.
"Often what happens is all the other uses get planned and the retail just gets shoehorned in. This should not be an afterthought," said Mary Beth Corrigan of the Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C-based nonprofit real estate research and education organization that conducted the draft study, which is expected to be released next month in its final form.
The report, commissioned by Friends of Community Board 1, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Downtown Alliance, is the product of a "summit" of experts in real estate, land use planning, retail, and urban development who gathered in October to tour the site and offer their ideas for the development of stores and commerce. It lays out a broad template, but few specifics, for planners to consider as they set out to rebuild the site and the neighborhood around it.
"You can't take the site and surrounding blocks and just chop them up into different types of retail. The area needs to have a flow," said Corrigan.
In that flow, she said, there should be a mix of boutiques, large "destination type" retailers, perhaps a movie theater and definitely a supermarket.
"Let's not forget about tailors, shoe repair and laundry places. We'll still need those," cautioned board member Catherine McVay Hughes. "I don't think we want only big retail."
The report estimates the World Trade Center site would be home to 250,000, requiring enough retail space to accommodate them, along with the needs of workers in the 17,500 firms in Lower Manhattan and the 13,700 tourists expected to visit the site each day.
The report's list of viable retail options for the site's storefront and concourse levels reads like the Yellow Pages: Restaurants, books, music, electronics, jewelry, apparel, department stores, and museums.
"What we're trying to do is create an alternative to traveling up to midtown to get this stuff," Corrigan said.
While Corrigan suggested that a "unified" development group should oversee the project for continuity sake, the shopping district should not resemble a mall.
"This should be the antithesis of the mall," she said.
As the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan moves forward, said Corrigan, at least 300,000 square feet of ground level retail space should be included in the first phase of construction at the site, a "champion" for retail should be selected to push the project, and there should be further consideration of "depressing'" West Street to better integrate Battery Park City into the market place.
The proposal to bury a portion of West Street is a controversial one, opposed by an organized group of Battery Park City residents.
These are "just suggestions," she told the board.
November 13th, 2004, 12:44 AM
You know it seems like EVERYBODY wants a piece of the WTC site, what the fuck is wrong with just restoring what was lost in a similar way to the original ????? i'm starting to get real pissed off about what should be a simple undertaking of reconstruction, being turned into some "we got to accomidate every body and everything mass of burocradic bullshit" i mean what do we have here 50 architects, 30 naighborhood groups, 20 civil groups, and at least 10 government groups, and ONE ignorant developer, by the time this reconstruction is done (somewere around 2030) we'll be left with some gigantic architecturaly insignifigant pile of shit!!!!................i'm sorry for my sarcasim but i think this thing has gone way beyond rediculous. I've been in construction for 25 years, the score card is pretty simple, (1) restore 12 million sq. ft. of office space,( i dont care how many towers, the less the better). (2) restore train infrastucture. (using santiago plan). (3) 500,000 sq. ft. retail (underground). (4) memorial on footprints.!!!.....culteral center, museum, relics of 9/11, and all the other bullshit that's been planned put somewere else, putting anything other than what was lost on this site is not only disrespectful, but also tacky.!!!!................this is whats wrong in this country today to many opinions, to many hands in the pie, the unfortunate result is, nothing gets done,. if the attitude were as it were in WW2 they would be topping these towers out by now.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 13th, 2004, 07:35 AM
^It's not America, from what I can tell it's only really acute in New York. Most other big cities try to accomidate developers wanting to build large projects. For some reason, in New York, the bigger the project, the more BS and red tape it has to cut through. More and more appeasment.
What is the result of this? Look at the skyline, with the exception of ESB and its 70 year old bretheren (plus Citigroup), every other tower pretty much blends in. The skyline is losing its character. It has no peaks, just endless 50 story buildings.
That so many elected officials are involved doesn't help.
The symbol of rebuilding-our symbol of defiance-will barely poke through the mass. It has been focus-grouped to death. A wise man once said "People who try to please everyone, pleases no one" If the LMDC is pleasing anyone, I haven't seen them. Most of their priorities are way-off from what the public, who own the WTC site. I say "most priorities" because they are right to put the retail at the center of the development. Because of what they will sell, they will the complex's biggest attraction. What will they be selling? Twin Towers' memorabilia.
September 30th, 2005, 03:24 AM
New York Times
September 29, 2005
Retail Plan for Ground Zero Is Unveiled
By DAVID W. DUNLAP
A day after evicting the International Freedom Center museum from the memorial quadrant at ground zero for being too controversial, state officials described a plan this morning to develop a half million square feet of retail space elsewhere on the World Trade Center site.
John P. Cahill, Gov. George E. Pataki's chief of staff and the top-ranking downtown development official, told business leaders that 200,000 square feet of retail space - roughly half the area of the old trade center shopping mall - will be built in the PATH terminal and transportation hub on which construction has just begun.
An additional 300,000 square feet are to be developed along Church Street, where most visitors now gather to view ground zero. The retail space would be developed, at least initially, by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
"I'd expect an enormous amount of interest along the Church Street corridor," Mr. Cahill said. He said stores were needed for the growing number of residents downtown.
Mr. Cahill also said that the cultural building on the memorial quadrant, originally intended for the Freedom Center and the Drawing Center, will instead be used as the above-ground "complement" to an underground memorial museum devoted solely to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That museum is planned to be built within the trade center's foundations - a sore point for relatives of 9/11 victims, many of whom opposed the Freedom Center.
Use of the cultural building, designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta, might increase by at least 40,000 square feet the amount of exhibition space for the memorial museum, which now stands at 110,000 square feet.
After Governor Pataki ordered the embryonic Freedom Center off the memorial quadrant on Wednesday, the center's founders responded almost immediately by putting an end to the entire project, saying it was intended exclusively for the ground zero site and could not be placed elsewhere.
The Freedom Center, picked for the memorial site by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was envisioned as a living memorial in which the story of Sept. 11, 2001, would be told in the context of the worldwide struggle for freedom through the ages.
Critics said the sacred precinct of the memorial was no place for a lesson in geopolitics or social history, particularly when the memorial museum was planned entirely underground, within the trade center foundations.
The Drawing Center, an art museum in SoHo, has already begun looking for other new space downtown rather than directly answer the governor's demand that it pledge never to do anything that would "denigrate America." In a statement explaining his decision, Governor Pataki said, "There remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the I.F.C., and we must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial."
He said he had instructed the development corporation, which is overseeing the development of the memorial and cultural buildings, to "work with the I.F.C. to explore other locations."
Less than an hour later, the center said in its own statement that there was no other location to explore, since the memorial quadrant was "the site for which the I.F.C. was created, at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's request, and as an integral part of Daniel Libeskind's master site plan."
"We do not believe there is a viable alternative place for the I.F.C. at the World Trade Center site," said the statement from the center's executives, Tom A. Bernstein, Peter W. Kunhardt and Richard J. Tofel. "We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end."
Debra Burlingame, who led the opposition to the Freedom Center, beginning with an article in The Wall Street Journal, "The Great Ground Zero Heist," on June 9, congratulated Governor Pataki on his decision. Her brother, Charles F. Burlingame III, was the pilot of the airliner that was crashed into the Pentagon.
"The International Freedom Center was an obstacle not simply for the families, the first responders and all those who were personally affected by the events of Sept. 11," Ms. Burlingame said in a telephone interview, "but for all Americans who will be coming to the World Trade Center memorial to hear the story of 9/11 and that story only.
"And I believe that story will be able to convey all the core values that Governor Pataki so eloquently enunciated," Ms. Burlingame said, adding that 9/11 was a story not only of loss but "an uplifting story of decency triumphing over depravity."
In 2004, the Drawing Center, an established art museum in SoHo, and the Freedom Center, which existed only as an idea, were picked as joint tenants of a cultural building to rise at the edge of the memorial, on Fulton and Greenwich Streets.
After critics expressed concern this summer that there would be anti-American exhibitions and programs in the cultural building, Governor Pataki demanded an "absolute guarantee" that neither institution would do anything "to denigrate America."
Rather than respond directly, the Drawing Center began looking for alternative space. But Mr. Bernstein, the chairman of the Freedom Center, and Paula Grant Berry, its vice chairwoman, pledged in a July 6 letter to the development corporation that their museum would never "be used as a forum for denigrating the country we love."
Criticism only grew. On Aug. 11, John C. Whitehead, the chairman of the corporation, instructed the Freedom Center to submit a report on its plans and programs, saying that its tenancy in the Snohetta building was at risk.
That report, issued last Thursday, did not assuage opponents, including three Republican congressmen, the police officers' and firefighters' unions and, as of last weekend, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York.
Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is identified strongly with the events of 9/11 and its immediate aftermath, supported Mr. Pataki's decision on Wednesday. "The governor has made the right decision," he said.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had recalled the importance of the planning process whenever he was asked to comment this summer, issued a brief statement. "Although I understand Governor Pataki's decision," he said, "I am disappointed that we were not able to find a way to reconcile the freedoms we hold so dear with the sanctity of the site."
In retrospect, the fate of the Freedom Center may have been sealed three years ago with the decision to create a clearly defined parallelogram, bordered by four streets, in which both the memorial and a cultural complex were to sit. Since this was the site of the twin towers, it may have been inevitable that the block would be seen as hallowed.
Gretchen Dykstra, the president of the memorial foundation, which will build and own the memorial and cultural buildings, said the governor had now "provided clear direction that the memorial quadrant should be devoted to telling the story of Sept. 11th."
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
New Jack City
October 21st, 2005, 07:32 PM
WTC'S SHOP STOP
MALL IN DUE TIME: Renderings of retail space for the planned transit hub at Ground Zero. The 200,000-square-foot shopping and dining complex is expected to be completed by 2010.
By TOM TOPOUSIS
October 21, 2005 -- The Port Authority unveiled designs yesterday for the first new retail development to go up at Ground Zero since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, with construction of a commercial complex that will be part of a massive $2 billion transit hub.
Slated to hold a massive 200,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, the retail complex in the transit hub is expected to be completed by 2010 and is just the first phase of what will eventually be a 500,000-square-foot commercial corridor on Church Street.
The agency yesterday voted to approve planning and design work for the project.
Gov. Pataki said the retail project would provide "a major boost" to the downtown economy, which lost a massive shopping center with the destruction of the World Trade Center.
"Restoring the vitality and street life to the neighborhoods around the World Trade Center site has been one of our primary goals since 9/11," he said.
Noting that the trade center's shopping mall was one of the most successful in the nation, Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia said the new commercial corridor would also generate significant revenues to help fund regional transit projects
The first bank of shops and restaurants will be part of the transit hub, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, but future retail development at the site will be housed in the lower levels of three proposed office buildings along Church Street that will include towers 2, 3 and 4 under the site's master plan.
But those office towers, which will follow construction of the Freedom Tower, are a long way from the drawing board. The Freedom Tower is tentatively set to be built by 2009, and its developer, Larry Silverstein, has yet to line up a tenant.
Port Authority officials agreed yesterday to explore ways to accelerate the design and construction of the additional 300,000 square feet of retail space on Church Street, between Vesey and Liberty streets.
Pataki has asked the Port Authority to come up with an expedited plan within the "upcoming weeks."
In the past, there had been talk of erecting temporary retail buildings until construction of the office towers is completed, or building pedestals that could house retail shops quickly and could be used later as the base for each of the office towers.
Five office towers are slated for the trade center, the last of which is scheduled for completion by 2015. A fifth tower would be south of the site on Liberty Street.
Pataki yesterday said he's confident that Ground Zero developer Silverstein will be able to construct all the office towers despite the fact that he has only a handful of tenants for his new building at 7 WTC and no tenants for the Freedom Tower. But he insisted the commercial development will not upstage the memorial.
"Tenants will come, and we will see the excitement surrounding the site of the horrible attacks as we want to see, and yet at the center will be this reflective memorial where we will be able to think back on our heroes and their sacrifice on Sept. 11," Pataki said.
Debra Burlingame, a 9/11 family member who led the effort to block the International Freedom Center at Ground Zero, said she sees no problem with the proposed commercial development along Church Street.
"As long as it doesn't encroach on the memorial and it doesn't wind up becoming a mini-Times Square, and I'm very confident they won't do that," she said. "I'm very supportive of economic development down there. I want it to bounce back better than it was."
New Jack City
November 20th, 2005, 06:39 PM
The Port Authority's vision for retail at the WTC site below. The city is against the plan because it will block views of the memorial.
A rendering of the proposed retail space on the Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The glass section at the end of Cortlandt Street would be a retail galleria.
A rendering of "Cortlandt Way," a retail galleria along what was Cortlandt Street, at ground zero, looking toward the World Financial Center.
November 22nd, 2005, 10:11 PM
Here's one more bone of contention in Ground Zero's free-for-all:
When the Port Authority unveiled its preliminary designs for a shopping mall on Church Street last week, PA Vice Chairman Charles Gargano told us work could start on the stores even before plans are finalized for the office towers Larry Silverstein is supposed to build on those sites.
Under what's called the "podium" scenario, the two retail structures to house 375,000 square feet of stores would be built first but engineered so that they could support office structures to be built on top of them later.
But Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a recent meeting with The Post's editorial board, said he opposed having low-rise buildings go up ahead of the towers because, "They'll be there forever."